Celebrating Baby's First Birthday

Girl blowing out her first birthday candle

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Some parents will use their child's first birthday as an opportunity to host a large gathering with friends and relatives of all ages. Others will make it a quiet celebration shared with very close relatives. Either way, your baby will be completely unaware of his or her accomplishment and will only enjoy it way off in the future while reviewing the old photo albums. So, make it a party the grown-ups will enjoy while taking into account your baby's comfort and schedule.

Your baby is on the verge of taking those first baby steps if he or she hasn't already. Let those tentative baby steps provide the theme for your party.

General Tips

Keep these tips in mind when scheduling your baby's first birthday party:

  • Schedule the party time around your baby's nap schedule. There's nothing sadder than an unhappy guest of honor.
  • Take plenty of pictures for your baby's photo album or scrapbook.
  • If there are older children at the party, get them involved by allowing them to help open the presents. Your baby won't care about much more than the wrapping paper anyway.
  • Most babies haven't had much experience with table food at this point, especially with dessert, so don't forget to photograph your baby as he or she dives into that first slice of birthday cake. The reaction to this cake will probably be one of the funniest you'll ever record.
  • If young children will be at the party, it would be a nice gesture to distribute goody bags because, aside from the cake, that's the one thing children become most excited about at parties. Appropriate items to include for very young children are animal crackers, crayons, board books, and balls.
  • If you plan to have balloons at the party, Mylar balloons are your safest bet. Regular latex balloons pose a choking hazard to the children.

Setting the Stage for Baby Steps

Hang a clothesline above the party table and using clothespins, clip baby socks or booties on the line. Use a cookie cutter in the shape of a baby's foot as a template to help create the theme:

  • Use it as a template to create invitations that have either been cut out in the shape of a baby foot or drawn on card stock.
  • Create a sponge in the shape of a baby foot using the cookie cutter, and use it to stamp foot designs on a plain white tablecloth.
  • Place the cookie cutter on top of your finished and frosted cake, and fill it with decorator sugar to create a baby foot design on the cake.

Prepare party favors for the adults using baby socks filled with candy. Tie them closed with a ribbon. Attach a photo of the birthday baby on the other end of the ribbon after punching a small hole in a corner of the photo.

Create a small photo gallery of baby's first year in the party room so that everyone can admire those cute infant moments.

A Birthday Party Menu

Here is a menu that is both homey and friendly. You may even be able to mash up some of it to serve to baby depending on how many foods have already been introduced at this point:

  • Pasta Shells With Feta and Herbs: This delicious recipe is an interesting twist on a classic dish and can be prepared in advance.
  • Roasted Lemon Herb Chicken: The chicken needs to cook for more than an hour, so make sure you allow enough time.
  • Glazed Carrots: You'll need to double this recipe if you have a party of eight guests.
  • Birthday Cake: Use white frosting to best show off your baby steps decoration.
  • Champagne: Guests can toast the baby and the proud parents.
  • Other beverages: Don't forget to purchase soft drinks, coffee, and tea.